Ready for the road

Ferris State men’s basketball will play in-conference opponents Northwood University and No. 19 Lake Superior State University after last week’s home sweep.

The Dawgs beat Michigan Tech last Thursday, Jan. 14, 93-61. They kept on rolling through Saturday, Jan. 16 when they beat Northern Michigan 96-79.

Ferris has played its way to No. 2 overall in the GLIAC. However, the Bulldogs are not the only No. 2.

Ferris and LSSU are involved in a six-team second place tie in the GLIAC posting in-conference records of 7-3. Northwood is only a game behind sitting at No. 8 and 6-4.

Ferris will play a Northwood team that defeated No. 1 in-conference Saginaw Valley 94-84 last Saturday. Last year the Bulldogs and the Timberwolves split the season series.

Senior guard Josh Fleming said, “We’ll be ready for them. I believe our system will prevail if we stick to our system. Our cohesiveness is at a high level right now.”

This game could turn into a barn burner as both teams are top five in points in the GLIAC, both averaging over 80 points per game.

After Northwood, the Bulldogs will take their road trip to LSSU. Ferris lost both matchups against the Lakers last year.

The maturation of senior center Jared Stolicker in a system that emphasizes effort and intensity could change the look of this year’s matchup between the Dawgs and Lakers.

Fleming said, “He’s a major part of our team and what we have moving forward. It’s great to see the improvement he’s made. He’s always been a great player but it’s nice to see him get the credit and attention that he has deserved for a while now.”

The difference between these teams is in the paint.

Stolicker is No. 1 in rebounds and blocks in the GLIAC, snagging 10.5 boards and three blocks per game. His team follows suit as Ferris is No. 1 in both categories averaging 41.7 boards and 8.4 blocks per game. LSSU averages 36.6 boards and 3.9 blocks per game.

In a game where both teams are evenly matched in terms of points per game, every possession counts. The Lakers are adept at creating turnovers as they average 8.8 steals per game.

Fleming is No. 9 in-conference for assists and turnovers. He has demonstrated the ability to keep the ball moving for his team and hopes to slow down the hands of LSSU.

Fleming said, “Our system consists of rebounding, defense, sharing the ball and running the break. We make people play at our pace.”

Both teams play with high energy so the air in the building should be electric.

The Bulldogs play Northwood at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21 and LSSU at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23.